Zarganar's jail term extended to 59 years

Nov 28, 2008 (DVB), Rangoon’s western provincial court yesterday added 14 more years to the prison term of comedian Zarganar for four offences, including defaming the Sasana and violating the unlawful association and video acts.

Comedian and activist Zaganar, who had already been sentenced to 45 years' imprisonment for three different violations of the video act, is now set to serve a total of 59 years in prison.

His co-defendant Zaw Thet Htway had four more years added to his 15-year prison term on two charges on the same day, while activist Thant Zin Aung’s term was extended by three years to 13 years.

Zarganar’s sister-in-law Ma Nyein said he look "cheerful as usual" when she saw him being taken away from the court in a prison truck.

Zaw Linn, Zarganar's lawyer, said the activist was given the maximum terms for the charges.

"Unjust trials will continue until Burma’s political problems are solved," he said.

Zarganar was this week honoured with the Freedom to Create Imprisoned Artist award by ArtVenture in association with freedom of expression organisation Article 19.

The prize recognises artists who use their talents to promote understanding and confront oppression.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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